Policy Update Dec 21, 2018

Position on FY19 Border Wall Funding

NPCA submitted the following position to members of the Senate ahead of anticipated floor votes on Fiscal Year 2019 appropriations.

NPCA urges senators reject the $5.7 billion for border wall added by the House to FY19 appropriations. Stand by the commitment made by the Senate to fund the government – including our national parks – without these damaging wall funds.

We are extremely concerned about the negative impacts this funding will have on our national parks, as well as the other public lands and communities on the border. Six national parks are located along the U.S.-Mexico border, three of which have existing border barriers. With the slush fund provided in this bill, there would be no restrictions on converting existing vehicular and pedestrian barriers to more damaging versions of wall or building new walls in park areas that currently do not have them. And due to the waiver authority provided by the Real ID Act of 2015, all the construction could be done without any environmental assessments.

The physical border infrastructure currently present in national parks blocks wildlife migration, disrupts the viewshed for park visitors, and has been subject to flooding. All the while, according to a 2017 GAO report, Customs and Border Protection has been unable to determine the border wall’s impact on diverting illegal entries or apprehension rates over time. It is irresponsible to authorize additional funding for a tactic that has proven to be expensive and its effectiveness uncertain.

Congress should be focusing on other ways to truly address border security. This includes increasing funding for ports of entry to address drug transport, increasing funding to process asylum seekers humanely and accurately, and addressing the poverty, violence and political suppression that drives migrants to flee their home countries. Building a wall will not effectively address any of those challenges.

Please do everything in your power to ensure funding for our national parks continues without the damaging addition of a border wall.